Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Crash and Contempt

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  • sagenz,

    her decision to bear a child she knew would be severely disabled -- as a way to burnish her anti-abortion credentials in a way Obama hasn't.

    And Craig transitions to emo status.

    Seriously read that back to yourself Craig. The woman kept her first out of wedlock child and became a firm anti abortionist. Long long long long before she got political. Her decision to keep the latest child never had anything to do with "burnishing ..credentials".

    It had to do with her personal beliefs. Not everybody is making all their decisions based on how it will look when it becomes public.

    uk • Since Nov 2006 • 128 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    I'm down the with Sullivan-Ranapia doctrine. Could these people get over their culture war and their novelty VP candidate and <b>start acting like old-fashioned conservatives</b>? Their chump champions have been wandering in the wilderness for eight years and the world is a bit scared.

    That'd be great. But then they'd lose the election...

    I guess that's fine with the liberals though, right :)

    It'd be fine with me too..

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • Grant Dexter,

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    . | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

    I'm down the with Sullivan-Ranapia doctrine. Could these people get over their culture war and their novelty VP candidate and start acting like old-fashioned conservatives? Their chump champions have been wandering in the wilderness for eight years and the world is a bit scared.

    :)

    Taipei, Taiwan • Since Mar 2007 • 256 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    Economy? Ha. Hope you're all working on getting those veggie gardens in. Beans go alright this time of year, as do some varieties of carrot and a few other bits and bobs.

    best advice ever.
    and Kyle: on yer bike, too.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • douglasof240,

    Response from a mate of mine lioving in Michigan -- I sent him your page

    the problem in the US is not tax cuts, but spending increases...both parties are truly fucked on this issue...and Americans living outside their means and greedy corp lenders that loaned money to people for houses they could never afford...they were loaning money to people who had no down payment and at high percentages of their income and then allowing them to take out 2nd mortgages on the equity as it built up, so a lot of people had property in which they owned with 100% load to worth ratio...and then they borrowed money (and the fucking lenders allowed this to happen), on variable interest rates so they could get a low "teaser" rate in the first few years...the banks and lenders loved this as they get a transaction fee every time someone refinances their house... so when property values declined and interest rates went up, they found themselves upside down owing more than it was worth if they sold with payments that they couldn't make...FUCKING STUPID...I have always bought the smallest house in the neighborhood...did it with a fixed rate mortgage and I will own my property free and clear in a half dozen years...I could have bought more...I could have built a McMansion like everyone else...but we will eat and have a place to sleep...so stupid American greed bastards and eveil greedy financial institutions...and ignorant government fools...as far as I am concerned they out to take them all into the back yard and shoot them to ensure that the gene pool is cleansed...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    It seems an appropriate moment to plagiarize Winston Churchill, "Free market capitalism is the worst form of economic system, apart from all the other that have been tried, from time to time".
    One would think that borrowing short and lending long was a discredited banking strategy, but it works very well when the market (in this case the housing market) is going up, it is just not so good when the market goes down. Human nature being what it is, we keep making the same mistake. In this more internationalized economy, the "splat' when it goes wrong gets bigger and bigger.
    So who to blame? The banking and financial system regulators were clearly asleep at the switch, so many of these CDOs were just crap, and should have been rated as such. Why anyone would buy them is beyond me as well.
    Alan Greenspan lowered the Fed funds rate to a stupidly low level and kept it there for way too long, pumping up a house price bubble because, as he states in his book, with interest rates low, house prices will rise and people will withdraw equity and spend it stimulating economic growth. Alan, it would have been much better to stick to your primary job of ensuring price stability (like the NZ and European central banks do) and stay out of economic policy. The flood of cheap money that Greenspan created caused the housing bubble that is the root cause of this problem (that is not to take any blame from the financial sector for their behavior)
    In spite of the current downturn in housing and finance sectors, the US economy grew at 3.3% the last quarter, exports are at record levels, so it is an accurate statement that the US economy is fundamentally sound, but it doesn't feel or seem that way. This financial meltdown was caused by a flood of cheap money from the Fed and stupidity in the financial sector, not by a crash of the economy as a whole impacting the financial sector and this problem has nothing to do with fiscal or tax policies as some other posters seem to believe.
    What to do? Paulsen had to stop bailing out banks. He had to do those that would have risked a complete collapse (Fannie & Freddie). But I don’t know why he didn't backstop Lehman while he did Bear. I guess he said enough is enough. This will all sort itself out; it is not the end of the world, any more than the dot com bomb was the end of the world a few years ago (we are still here aren’t we? And the economy is quite a lot larger than at that time, so it can’t have been that bad could it?).
    The key issue going forward is to ensure disclosure and reporting requirements in a way that ensures highly leveraged low quality assets are correctly categorized and disclosed as such so banking capital adequacy requirements and other asset quality checks kick in and prevent banks and organizations piling up on "assets" that are crap, with the inevitable consequence when markets retreat a bit, as they always do.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    douglasof240
    Your mate is exactly correct. What made it possible was that the lenders who made ridiculous loans made them on the basis that they would never have to collect as they sold the loan a short time after it was made to a financial organization who packaged up a bunch of crappy loans and on sold it to another organization that was looking for a few more basis points of return and who for whatever reason didn't do proper due diligence on what they were buying, or who suspended reality and thought that markets always go up.

    Add in some problematic concepts such as mark to market rules, which are great on the way up as they generate profits, but they force dramatic (quite likely exaggerated) write downs as a market falls. There is a strong case to be made for easing mark to market rules for long term assets like houses.

    Also everyone is quick to forget that there was a Govt regulation that encouraged loans to less credit worthy borrowers, with the objective of increasing homeownership (good objective, but god intentions can cause problems).

    Human nature. Greed. Homeowner buys more house than they can afford with a margin of comfort, bankers make dodgy loan to get a fee knowing they will never have to collect if things go pear shaped as they will sell the loan, financial institution hungry for a bigger return buys the loan not looking closely enough, maybe because they intend to flick it on as well. Same story since the beginning of time, it is just the details that change.

    The good news is that in terms of sub prime loans in danger of foreclosure, we are only talking about a very small percentage of US homes, but with the kind of leverage applied to these instruments it gets to billions and billions really fast. And as the financial institutions are all competing with each other to produce the best earnings, they all leverage to the hilt to chase the extra earnings etc, making the fallout big enough to take down big companies.

    Giving these guys a flood of cheap money and an artificially inflating housing market is like introducing an alcoholic to crack cocaine. Might be fun for a (short) while, but it is going to get ugly at some stage.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And Craig transitions to emo status.

    *yawn* I'll give you credit for getting some new material, Sage. The rather tacky Mallard-lite cat-calls of "take your pills" were getting tired.

    It had to do with her personal beliefs. Not everybody is making all their decisions based on how it will look when it becomes public.

    And I find that decision admirable, but when you're quite happy to use that personal decision as part of your claim to public office, you just don't get to have it both ways.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Other than suggesting she wasn't Sarah's daughter

    Um, Trig Palin is her youngest son.

    questioning the wisdom of Sarah's birthing choices?

    Well, perhaps Palin would like to STFU about her opposition to abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. I'm in that mushy middle that finds abortion deeply troubling, but has to admit that it's not quite as simple as the extremists on either end would have it.

    But, as you said, it's her attitudes to other people's families that should be attacked. But pointing out hypocrisy -- like, as I said at the time, whether Bristol Palin and her redneck Baby Papa would be quite so well received by the Republican base if her mother wasn't who she is. Well, I think that's fair game -- especially when Bristol was outed by her own parents.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And could I add that I spent most of my first five years in a foster family, where my oldest sibling (of four) is epileptic and intellectually disabled. Throw that into the mix with two teens and two toddlers and you've got a case for sainthood. But a convincing "narrative" that you're qualified for high public office. Not so much.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And, finally, if Sage wants to talk about "emo" hysterics, how about this:

    By now, I suspect most of you have seen the opening skit from "Saturday Night Live," which featured a joint press conference hosted by Sarah Palin (played perfectly by Tina Fey) and Hillary Clinton (Amy Poehler). If you missed it, and it was pretty hilarious, NBC has posted the whole thing.

    It was pretty harmless, and as Faiz noted, Palin herself reportedly found it "quite funny" and had a good laugh. But then, there was McCain adviser/surrogate Carly Fiorina on MSNBC this morning.

    "[T]he portrait [on "SNL"] was very dismissive of the substance of Sarah Palin, and so, in that sense, they were defining Hillary Clinton as very substantive and Sarah Palin as totally superficial," Fiorina argued. "I think that continues the line of argument that is disrespectful in the extreme and yes, I would say, sexist, in the sense that just because Sarah Palin has different views than Hillary Clinton does not mean that she lacks substance."

    If the McCain-Campaign really is "respectful" towards women, could they stop sending female proxies out to make fools of themselves like this? And I don't know if I saw the same sketch as Fiorina, but Amy Poehler's Clinton doesn't come across as "substantive" but an utter loon. Which might not be a surprise on a sketch comedy show, folks.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • sagenz,

    that craig was brilliant. I completely agree about not sending out the pompous ass proxies. Palin herself keeps undercutting them.

    uk • Since Nov 2006 • 128 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    __Other than suggesting she wasn't Sarah's daughter__

    Um, Trig Palin is her youngest son.

    Quite, I keep getting the gender mixed up. It must be because trigonometry (which is, I assume, where they got the idea from) is feminine in Italian. :-)

    like, as I said at the time, whether Bristol Palin and her redneck Baby Papa would be quite so well received by the Republican base if her mother wasn't who she is. Well, I think that's fair game -- especially when Bristol was outed by her own parents.

    Sheesh... the family announced the pregnancy, they were hardly going to send her out on her own in front of all the media in the galaxy. As far as announcing was concerned, they were damned if they did, and damned if they didn't, no? But absolutely nobody is denying you your atheism-given right to point out the hipocrisy of the slew of conservative commentators railing against teenage mothers (see Bill O'Reilly vs. Britney's sister, chapter and verse). Or Palin's record in office in that matter - what has she has or hasn't done for young mothers, and for sex-ed. Attack her for what she wants done to other families, that's the way to go.

    I do respectfully disagree - as I have before in another thread - that a conservative Christian base would be uniformly against the idea of conception out of wedlock. So long as it is followed by marriage, it's actually okay for Catholics, for instance. But it's a racial thing, too, the template of a teenage mother is a black urban woman and that's not okay for conservatives. However: the one who is actually railing against "conception out of wedlock" (bizarrely worked, and would include all of my children) is Obama, because he wants to outflank Republicans in that particular area.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    @Tussock

    OTOH, what I'm definitely not OK with is a police force that rounds up all the local dissidents and slanders them all as terrorists when it's just done an extensive investigation proving they're nothing of the sort; what with us not having any actual terrorism at all, other than perhaps that anti-apartheid crowd back in the day and their flour bombs that stopped a rugby match.

    I'm not sure we can discuss this much further without really risking the ire of David Collins (and your mind's made up anyway) but my view remains as ever: that a few people -- however righteous they seemed to themselves -- were doing things that absolutely warranted the attention of the police.

    I think you'll find that the police didn't "slander" anyone as a terrorist, and in fact carefully avoided using the term. They were obliged to advise people that warrants had been issued in relation to potential offences under the Terrorism Suppression Act and the Arms Act.

    In my view it was reasonable to suppose that there were potential offences under both. As it happened, Collins denied police permission to proceed under the TSA (which means some of the evidence gathered in support of the original warrants will not be admissable), largely because the law was too difficult to apply, but noted that the investigation had halted "very disturbing activities".

    It may be that what was going on was largely bullshit, and/or that the police mishandled their inquiry. But if someone takes your bullshit insurgency playacting seriously on account of there being real weapons involved, I believe your scope for complaint is somewhat limited.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    However: the one who is actually railing against "conception out of wedlock" (bizarrely worked, and would include all of my children) is Obama,

    Uh, not that I'm doubting you, but you got a link for that railing?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    Uh, not that I'm doubting you, but you got a link for that railing?

    Okay, perhaps "railing was excessive"... I'll continue my struggle towards a more perfect English. But he does talk about it a lot, that's how he frames the problem - rather than referring to solo parenthood. A search of "out of wedlock" and "audacity of hope" should get you the bit in the book.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Okay, perhaps "railing was excessive"... I'll continue my struggle towards a more perfect English. But he does talk about it a lot, that's how he frames the problem - rather than referring to solo parenthood. A search of "out of wedlock" and "audacity of hope" should get you the bit in the book.

    Yup on page 256 of his book, he argued that encouraging black girls to finish high school and stop having babies "out of wedlock" is "the single biggest that we could do to reduce inner-city poverty". This passage has generally been invoked by left-wingers to argue that he's a closet conservative.

    He does use the "out of wedlock" phrase occasionally on the stump (discussing abortion rights), but I really can't see where he's bashed Palin with it, anywhere. I'm struggling to see his offence.

    OTOH, google "Obama" and "wedlock" and you'll encounter a river of bile from conservatives.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22849 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    I'm pretty sure Obama said, WRT Palin, something along the lines of "it's family business, not politics, and I'd be the last one to judge, given my mother's life experiences".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    giovanni:

    Not for the first time, I don't think we're really that far apart, as opposed to coming to the same point from (slightly) different directions.

    I think we both agree that:
    1) FakeBabyMamaGate was as vile as it was bizarre.

    2) Bristol Palin's uterus is not standing for public office, her mother is.

    3) Entering public life doesn't mean you, your family, and everyone you've every known is fair game for every telephoto-perv and Ian Wishart-wannabe in creation.

    4) There is a meaningful distinction between "the public interest" and "what we assume the public is interested in", and it would be damn nice if certain politicians and media outlets figured it out.

    But my point (and admittedly one I didn't make as well as I could have), is that when you make family values a central plank of your campaign "narrative", then it's a little rich to complain when you have (to coin a phrase) brought home a dog its damn hard to keep on the porch.

    I'm not saying Democrats don't have some stinky poo on that score -- when it came to the DNC, I'd have put my foot down in Michelle Obama's position and insisted my daughters stay in the hotel room with a sitter, a tub of ice crème and the DVD of their choice.

    But here's where I make a direct comparison: Beau Biden's introduction of his father at the DNC was, for my blood, real diabetic coma material. But the guy is in his late thirties, an elected official in his own right, and (unlike Trig Palin presumably) knew where he was.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    I think you'll find that the police didn't "slander" anyone as a terrorist, and in fact carefully avoided using the term. They were obliged to advise people that warrants had been issued in relation to potential offences under the Terrorism Suppression Act and the Arms Act.

    Yeah, can someone clear this up for me, please? I've been hearing a bit of talk about people being "charged with terrorism" or "treated as terrrorists" -- my understanding is that some evidence was gathered using warrants issued under the Terrorism Suppression Act, but that none of that evidence has been used, and all the charges issued have been Arms charges. Is that correct?

    The media has been a piss-poor source of information, I've found -- I recall seeing Broad (was it Broad?) giving the press conference, where he seemed to be making an effort to downplay the terrorism angle, but as soon as the media heard the T-word, everyone went mental.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    __yes, I would say, sexist, in the sense that just because Sarah Palin has different views than Hillary Clinton does not mean that she lacks substance.

    Ummmmm, what? How in gods name is that sexist? Comparing two people of the same gender and finding one lacking in substance is sexist?
    Well we can only hope that Fiorina ruins McCain like she ruined HP...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Well we can only hope that Fiorina ruins McCain like she ruined HP...

    Well, Fiornia sure is turning out to be the gaffe that keeps on giving:

    HOST: "Do you think [Palin] has the experience to run a major company like Hewlett Packard?"

    FIORINA: "No, I don't. But that's not what she's running for."

    Now, I'm sure Sage is going to come in and say that's totally unfair and Fiorina is quite right -- Palin isn't on a shortlist to become a top-tier executive of a major multi-national corporation.

    True enough, as far as it goes. But, in McCain's position, I'd be putting one of my inner circle of economic advisors on the naughty step for being that candid about my Veep pick.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    Watching the media and liberal wankers, sorry, they'd probably prefer their own description, "liberal elite" have a fit over Palin is one of those things that is both very funny and sad and disturbing at the same time.
    So Palin is not experienced enough to be VP, but Obama is experienced enough to be President? I mean what an absolute joke, how can that case possibly be made? Hillary's claims to great experience were a side splitter, but Obama makes her look over qualified by comparison.
    They are diving through Palin's life and family for anything, any dirt to throw at her, while never lifting a finger to look at Obama's non-existent achievements and his background which stinks to high heaven. Tony Resko? Who? Chicago political machine? What? Bill Ayers? Huh? Gone nowhere done nothing Joe Biden’s connections to MBNA? Where?

    A rigorous, but level handed examination of all candidates? That is supposed to be their job. But they forgot that some time ago. The question today is that no doubt the reporting will have an effect, but in a media environment that the media no longer controls how much pushback will the media’s overt bias create? Whatever the case, at least we have a horse race. A few weeks ago this was supposed to be a coronation. Intrade has it basically tied, http://www.intrade.com/

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 353 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    James Bremner:

    So I guess Ike didn't blow out the cobwebs from between your ears? Sorry, but anyone who wants to seriously claim that Obama hasn't been subject to any scrutiny since he entered the Democratic Primaries last February is either delusional or just lying. (You may want to choose your own description.)

    Of course, for wing-nuts of all descriptions, "bias" has been defined down to "anything in the media I don't like" but let's rejoin the reality-based community for a moment.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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